Cathy Segal-Garcia and Yoonseung Cho: Bohemian (2012)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The classic vocal-piano format can present itself in a myriad of ways, ranging from a more common singer-with-accompanist experience, with one melodically active and the other harmonically supportive, to a more cerebral, highly energized interplay and exploration of musical ideas. Bohemian, featuring vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia and pianist Yoonseung Cho is an exquisite example of the latter.
As the first collaboration between these two fine artists, this recording is a musical kaleidoscope of vocal sound textures, all swirling with and energized by the music emanating from the keyboard. Segal-Garcia and Cho present a dozen highly innovative selections that, to their significant credit, stretch the boundaries of the aforementioned voice-keyboard dyad. This is definitely not lounge or cabaret act bland stuff. It is highly involving listening that draws attention.
Garcia-Segal has the perfect ability and agility to interact with Cho's enormous technical chops. While her voice is beautifully feminine ("All the Right Reasons"), Garcia-Segal can hop and bop as well as show fine tonal sensitivity. She is musical equal, foil, partner and "play" mate to Cho. On "Bohemian" and four other cuts, the vocalist demonstrates a marvelous composer's touch, carrying a highly refined and unique pen.
Cho, on the other hand, is a very virile player. His touch ranges from most muscularly percussive to highly sensitive and romantic. Cho's classical piano training is quite evident during moments of impressionistic brilliance ("Like a River" and "One Minute"). The improvisational aspects of his performance do more to enhance and develop Garcia-Segal's ideas (and vice versa) than attempting to overshadow them.
The dozen interesting selections range from the more theatrical ("Bohemian" and "Touch of Her Soft Lips/The Nightingale") to quirky ("Embraceable Jew" and "The Ironic Waltz") and faux funky ("Jump Back"). Whatever the groove, Segal-Garcia and Cho are an innovative and engaging musical team.
What makes "Bohemian" so amazing throughout all of the cuts, is the interplay between Segal-Garcia and Cho. It is as if both of these artists are creatively unified, committed and dedicated to embracing and respectfully exploring each other's musical offerings.
With Bohemian one fine singer and one fine pianist add up to much more than the sum of its talented parts.
Track Listing: Bohemian; Her Family; Everyday's Own Song; Jump Back; One Minute;
Embraceable Jew; All the Right Reasons; Like a River; A Timeless Place;
Fragile; Touch Her Soft Lips/The Nightingale; The Ironic Waltz
Personnel: Cathy Segal-Garcia: vocals; Yoonseung Cho: piano
Record Label: Dash Hoffman Records